With two weeks to go until Marylanders vote in their Republican primary, Donald Trump has a small lead over both Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who are currently splitting the non-Trump vote evenly, according to a new Washington Free Beacon poll.
The poll of 600 likely Republican voters found Trump earning 33 percent of the vote, with single-digit leads over Cruz and Kasich, who earned 26 and 25 percent of the vote, respectively.
The poll indicates that Trump’s lead in the state is shrinking, but it may not matter unless one of his rivals can consolidate voters unwilling to support Trump.
Trump does far better among male voters than he does with female voters.
While Trump holds a 14-point lead over Cruz with men, women voters supported the three candidates equally at 28 percent. The disparity is even larger among women under 40 years old, only 7 percent of whom said they support Trump.
Maryland elects delegates on a winner-take-all basis, so Cruz and Kasich splitting the non-Trump vote hurts the effort to keep Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates required to become the Republican nominee for president.
Only New York will vote before Maryland on April 26. Trump has maintained a large lead in his home state, leaving Cruz and Kasich little opportunity to gain momentum before the Maryland contest.
One of the biggest remaining wildcards in the race is the endorsement of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who previously endorsed Chris Christie but chose not to follow him into the Trump camp.
The poll found that Hogan remains wildly popular among likely Republican voters, with 86 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of the governor and only 3 percent saying they do not.
Maryland is the second biggest delegate prize up for grabs on April 26, which is also the date for primaries in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
The Maryland Republican Party awards 14 delegates to the statewide winner, and an additional three delegates will be awarded to the winner of each of Maryland’s eight congressional districts.
In an added wrinkle to the race, the Kasich campaign failed to get the correct number of delegates on the ballot in six of the state’s eight districts.
While both Trump and Cruz have relatively even support throughout the state, Kasich performs best in districts in the Washington, D.C., metro area. His failure to get delegates on the ballot, however, means he will be unable to earn delegates even in some areas where his support is strongest.
The Kasich campaign announced that he would travel to the state on Wednesday, one day before the state’s one-week early voting period begins.
The poll was conducted by TargetPoint Consulting and was conducted from April 8 to April 10.